Welcome back to Science Fair—the last one by this particular Science Editor! You’ll be in good hands next week, but until then, check out these choice science events happening on campus. As always, email science@bwog.com if you want to feature your event.

Disaster Medicine: Equitable Health Care in a Changing Climate

  • Tuesday, February 1, 2022 12 to 2 pm
  • “Heyman Center for the Humanities, more information here
  • From California’s Dixie Fire to Hurricane Ida, climate change is giving rise to more frequent and intense extreme weather events. Not only are these disasters fatal and costly, but they increase existing health disparities by differentially reducing access to medical care and exacerbating chronic conditions. Efforts to (re-)build environments resilient under extreme weather must be responsive to principles of climate justice. To explore the challenges of equitably adapting health care delivery systems to serve vulnerable populations in our changing climate, scholars in environmental health will discuss visioning health care delivery in extreme weather through a just climate lens.”

Babylonian Modes of Thought and the Scientific Imagination

  • Wednesday, February 2, 2022 12 to 1 pm
  • Online event, link here
  • “From concepts of time to astronomy, mathematics, and technology, ancient Babylonians have long been considered pioneers of the ancient world. But what distinguished ancient Babylonian thinking from that of other cultures?  In this talk, we will explore the unusual history of how and why Babylonian knowledge—or, a creative rendering of a “Babylonian mode of thought”—manifested in the works of John Maynard Keynes, Jorge Luis Borges, and Richard Feynman, among others. Using letters, lectures, and short stories from these 20th century figures we will recount the vivid history of how a “Babylonian mode of thought” inspired the scientific and literary imagination.”

“Empire of Pain: The Sackler Family and the Opioid Crisis,” a conversation moderated by Carl Erik Fisher

  • Wednesday, February 2, 2022 6 to 7 pm
  • Online event, link here
  • “For our first Narrative Medicine Rounds of 2022, on February 2nd, we are very excited to host Patrick Radden Keefe, author of EMPIRE OF PAIN: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, in a conversation moderated by Carl Erik Fisher. Empire of Pain is a grand, devastating portrait of three generations of the Sackler family, famed for their philanthropy, whose fortune was built by Valium and whose reputation was destroyed by OxyContin. An instant bestseller, winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize, and named one of the best books of 2021 by the New York TimesTimeThe EconomistBoston GlobeGuardianThe Times (London)The AtlanticBusinessweekFinancial TimesNPRLos Angeles TimesNewsweek, and many others, the book is a masterfully researched and reported work of nonfiction, and tells a history that absolutely all of us should know.”

BME Seminar: Charles Gersbach, Ph.D., Duke University—”Genome Engineering Technologies for Gene Therapy and Functional Genomics

  • Friday, February 4, 2022 11 am to 12 pm
  • Northwest Corner Building, room 501
  • “The advent of genome engineering technologies, including the RNA-guided CRISPR/Cas9 system, has enabled the precise targeting of genomic locations with molecular machinery. We have adapted and applied these tools to robustly and precisely manipulate gene expression, program the epigenome, annotate the function of the non-coding genome, and control cell fate decisions. Specifically, we have engineered CRISPR/Cas9-based tools to regulate the expression of endogenous genes and applied these tools to control diverse genes relevant to disease, development, and differentiation. We have applied these technologies to control the decisions of stem cells to become specific cell fates and reprogram cell types into other lineages for drug screening, disease modeling, and in vivo tissue regeneration. Genome-wide screens of epigenetic modulation of target gene expression have enabled the discovery of novel distal regulators of target gene expression and modulators of cell fate commitment.  We have used in vivo epigenome editing to alter expression of genes associated with complex disease phenotypes. We also developed new transgenic mice carrying inducible dCas9-based transcriptional activators and repressors to enable study of function and regulation of genes and non-coding regulatory elements in diverse tissues and cell types. Collectively, these studies demonstrate the potential of modern genome engineering technologies to capitalize on the products of the Genomic Revolution and transform medicine, science, and biotechnology.”

Image via Shane Maughn